Canadian Alpine Journal/Volume 1/Number 1/Biographical Sketch—The All Red Line

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Such a noteworthy event as the attainment of his eightieth birthday by the founder of the first Alpine Club of Canada, at the summit of Rogers pass in 1883, and the Patron and Honorary President of the Alpine organization formed last year at Winnipeg, cannot fail to be of the very deepest interest to all our members, and, owing to his many scientific and commercial achievements, to the British Empire.

Thanks to the four sons of Sir Sandford Fleming, we have secured the privilege of presenting to the public with this volume a reduced facsimile of a birthday address presented to their father by his descendants on the day when he reached the mature age of eighty years, January 7th, 1907. The original is a beautifully illuminated sheet, about double the size of the appended copy, which is merely in outline. It furnishes a terse but eloquent autobiography.

We are indebted, in part, to these gentlemen for the explanation which follows. Two of them accompanied their father across the mountains. Major Frank Fleming in 1872, and Sandford Hall Fleming in 1883. The first by the Yellow Head pass, the second by the Bow river and Rogers passes.

They mention that their father at first hesitated to give his assent to the publication of the address, for the reason that however interesting it might be to him and to his children, and however much he and they might appreciate the proposal to incorporate it in the Canadian Alpine Journal, it was after all "merely a family matter, a record of service on the one hand and of loving family devotion on the other, in itself of
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little or no public interest." The request having been pressed by the Editorial Committee, Sir Sandford said: "On public grounds I can see one reason only for waiving my objection. In the centre of the address there is a diagram intended to illustrate the world-encircling Imperial Cable project, respecting which the public mind still needs educating, and no doubt publication of the address with the forthcoming Journal and a reference to this feature of it in the text, would have an educative tendency, productive of good."

It is difficult at a glance to grasp the full significance of the proposal to establish an unbroken chain of state-owned cable-telegraphs connecting all the self-governing British communities in both hemispheres, but by those who have studied the matter, it is regarded to be of immense Imperial importance. At the three Colonial Conferences assembled in 1887, 1894 and 1902 the subject was under consideration. At the two first mentioned, Sir Sandford, representing Canada, as one of the delegates, took a prominent part in the discussions, and his matured views were placed before the Conference assembling in London on April 15th, 1907. For twenty years he has had the keenest desire to promote the project and has never spared himself or lost an opportunity of advancing it. The Empire Cable scheme is one of his highest ideals. He believes most thoroughly that, when eventually consummated, it will, by bringing all the autonomous units of the Empire around the globe into one friendly neighborhood, electrically and telegraphically, become the indirect means of quickening trade, making more effective the ties of sympathy, more enduring the bonds of sentiment, and thus add strength and stability to the great sisterhood of British nations—the development of the new century we have entered on.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923. It may be copyrighted outside the U.S. (see Help:Public domain).

This work is now in the public domain because it originates from Canada and its term of copyright has expired.

According to Canadian copyright law, all private copyrights expire fifty years after the year marking the death of the author. Government works are held under Crown copyright which expires fifty years after publication.